JONATHAN CHISWELL-JONES

I went to see Jonathan Chiswell-Jones’ pottery at the Artworkers Guild (AWG) yesterday at their beautiful home in Queen Square, the perfect setting for ceramics with allusions to William de Morgan. The building has changed little since the AWG acquired it about a hundred years ago. The name of every member past and present is carefully lettered on the walls and there are portraits of all the guild’s masters. This may give the impression that the AWG is old-fashioned but it’s not and its members produce very up-to-date craft work as you can see here.

Reduced lustre pottery is extraordinarily difficult to make and very few people try it. It requires three firings at different temperatures and precise control of kiln atmosphere to change the decoration (which looks like mud when it’s put on) to gold and silver in a magical alchemical transformation. The method was revived by De Morgan and copied by a few large potteries like Maw & Co. and Pilkington, who did it cheaper and put him out of business. Alan Caiger-Smith rediscovered it by accident in the 1950s trying to produce a red glaze and it took him twenty-six unsuccessful firings to get it.

2 thoughts on “JONATHAN CHISWELL-JONES

  1. Hope you enjoyed the show, and thank you for your piece. It’s quite a business getting all those pots up for one evening, but the sales usually make it worth while. If i knew a London gallery who could move my work in any quantity, I would probably use them, but they are few and far between. I wonder if anyone has bought your kiln yet? I was lucky enough to be given John Solly’s kiln when he died, by his window, and good solder as it is, it has fired hundreds of times since and continues to give good service. All good wishes- Jonathan.

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